Star cast: Akshay Kumar, Ritesh Deshmukh, Arjun Rampal, Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta, Jiah Khan, Boman Irani, Chunkey Pandey, Randhir Kapoor, Lilette Dubey.

Plot: Akshay is born unlucky and believes that his luck would turn for the better only when he finds true love. And he finds three girls to love!

What’s Good: The acting, the comedy, the dialogues, the songs, the locations, the look and feel.

What’s Bad: Nothing really. But the screenplay could’ve definitely been better.

Verdict: Bring out the house full boards in the cinemas – for the first weekend, at least. Paying proposition for all concerned.

Loo break: None.

Eros International and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment Ltd.’s Housefull (UA) is a comedy of errors. Aarush (Akshay Kumar) is a loser who is so low on luck that he only spells trouble wherever he goes and for whomever he comes in contact with. He believes, his luck will change the day he finds true love.

Pooja (Malaika Arora Khan in a special appearance) rejects Aarush because of his bad luck. Dejected on being turned down by Pooja and threatened by her strict brother, Major Krishna Rao (Arjun Rampal), Aarush lands up in close friend Bob’s (Ritesh Deshmukh) house in London. He creates trouble there too, much to the annoyance of Bob’s wife, Hetal (Lara Dutta). Anyway, Hetal soon takes a liking for him and sets him up with Devika (Jiah Khan), the daughter of her and Bob’s boss, Kishore Samtani (Randhir Kapoor). Aarush gets married to Devika but she leaves him for her foreigner-boyfriend on the first day of the honeymoon itself.

Soon, Aarush meets Sandy (Deepika Padukone) and, after initial bickerings, the two fall in love. As Sandy and Hetal also become friends, the former tells Hetal how to win over her father, Batuk Patel (Boman Irani), in India, who has almost disowned Hetal for marrying Bob who is not rich enough. Batuk Patel’s heart melts when Hetal tells him, she has a baby boy. He agrees to come to London after a few days. Before that, Sandy’s brother – who turns out to be Major Krishna Rao, also announces that he’d be in London to meet his sister and Aarush. Like Sandy has lied to her brother that Aarush is a rich man, Hetal too has told her father that Bob has made it very big in London and now owns a big house.

Things go terribly wrong when Batuk Patel lands up in London before Krishna Rao. Circumstances force Aarush to pretend to be Hetal’s husband. Even as Batuk Patel is living with Hetal, Aarush, Sandy and Bob in a huge mansion they have rented, but are passing off as Hetal and Aarush’s, comes Major Krishna Rao. Aarush now has to also play Sandy’s boyfriend, which he actually is, in front of the Major after realising that the Major doesn’t clearly remember that he (Major) had threatened him to stay off his other sister, Pooja. To make matters worse, Devika’s father also comes to London and he is under the belief that Aarush is happily married to Devika.

How the problems are resolved is what the climax is all about.

Sajid Nadiadwala’s story may not be very novel as there have been several comedies of error in the past. The recent All The Best, for one, had a very similar storyline. But the subject does have some new twists and turns, including that of a man having three ‘beloveds’. The screenplay, written by Sajid Khan, Milap Zaveri and Vibha Singh, is good and has several interesting anecdotes but what is lacking is consistency. While the first half has some funny scenes, they aren’t enough. However, the post-interval portion is funnier and more fast-paced. Had the writers penned a smoother-flowing screenplay, the film could have turned out to be a laugh riot which it isn’t in the present form.

The problem, if one may use the term, with the screenplay is that it hops from one scene to another and often forgets what’s been tackled before just a few minutes. So, although the audience does get to watch individual scenes that are funny, the thread of continuity often snaps. An instance in point is the track of the child of Hetal and Aarush. Once the real mother of the child takes him away right in front of Hetal’s father, the writers haven’t even bothered to explain how Hetal and Aarush must’ve handled the situation thereafter. Likewise, the comedy tracks of Aakhri Pasta (Chunkey Panday) and Zulekha (Lilette Dubey) are forgotten as per the convenience of the writers and are brought back whenever convenient. Also, the rounding off of some scenes is so easily reached that it looks contrived. An example of this is when Aarush hides in the toilet because both, Kishore Samtani and Major Krishna Rao, are waiting for him outside, each blissfully unaware that the other also knows him.

A good thing about the screenplay is that it keeps the viewer engaged completely in the drama although there are several tracks at work simultaneously.

Climax is very novel but it will not appeal to many for the simple reason that while the characters are rolling in laughter on the screen, the audience isn’t. Nevertheless, the novelty factor is bound to go in its favour.

Anvita Dutt’s dialogues are extremely funny and witty. In fact, viewed overall, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the dialogues in the film are better than the screenplay. Note, for instance, the dialogues of Aakhri Pasta and also Aarush’s dialogue in the introductory scene of Zulekha – Yeh vidhwa slow motion mein kyon chal rahi hai?.

Akshay Kumar gets into the skin of the character and does a truly fine job. He is very entertaining in his own style. Ritesh Deshmukh is also very good. Especially when he pretends to be gay, Ritesh brings the house down with laughter. Arjun Rampal does justice to his role of a strict brother. Deepika Padukone looks bewitching and acts with aplomb. Lara Dutta proves yet again that she can be fantastic in comedies. Jiah Khan looks hot and acts ably in a comparatively shorter role. Boman Irani is terrific and leaves a lasting impression. Chunkey Panday has a superb comic track and he does the fullest justice to it. Randhir Kapoor plays the boisterous father of Devika (Jiah Khan) naturally. Lilette Dubey is extraordinary. Her attitude, her mannerisms and her expressions are all to die for. Malaika Arora Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez add star value in special appearances.

Sajid Khan’s direction is good. The creditable part of his narration is that he has been able to keep the audience completely engaged in the commercial drama. He has also extracted very fine performances out of his cast members. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is already hit. Each song is a delight to hear and with Farah Khan’s choreography, every song also becomes a visual delight. Background music (Sandeep Chowta) is lovely. Vikas Sivaraman’s camerawork is splendid. The foreign locations, on which the film has been shot, are heavenly. Sets (Acropolis) are very nice. Rameshwar Bhagat’s editing is sharp. Production values are grand.

On the whole, Housefull will ensure full houses in the initial week- end, after which it will settle down in the plus category, keeping everyone (producers, distributors, exhibitors and the public) happy. The drought of big/successful releases in the last two months will further help the chances of the film as the public is hungry for entertainment.

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